Everything You Need to Know About Writing a Character Reference Letter
With writing a character letter comes great responsibility, as someone’s scholarship, internship or job may depend on it. Apart from including the required background information, a character reference letter should throw light on the candidate’s attributes and character traits. If you do not know how to write a character reference letter, then we have got some actionable tips for you, along with a character letter sample to help you craft the perfect letter for someone else.
A COMPLETE GUIDE ON HOW TO WRITE A CHARACTER REFERENCE LETTER
Here are the nine steps to write the perfect personal character reference letter to recommend a candidate for a job position, court case or a scholarly admission.
1. Establish your relationship with the person
The reader would want to know the kind of relationship, the writer shares with the candidate. So, introduce information about how you are related to the candidate and for how long you have known him or her. The specifics help to establish a contextual relationship. Instead of writing, “I have known Sarah for five years,” you can write, “I have had the pleasure of working alongside Sarah for the past three years at the Central Library in New Jersey.
2. Use the appropriate format
Character letters generally follow the three-part format. The introductory paragraph should include your relationship to the person. The second paragraph is where you add your analysis of the person’s character. In the closing paragraph, you request the reader to look favourably upon the candidate. Remember that the reader needs the basics. So keep it short.
3. Keep a positive realistic tone
A character letter of recommendation should provide a positive assessment of the candidate’s accomplishments and goals. As the name suggests, a letter of good character should leave the reader with a positive impression. So, use positive adjectives only. List out accomplishments like philanthropic contributions, military servitude, etc. to show the candidate in a good light. Ensure that you don’t overpraise by citing some achievements of the candidate that may sound ambiguous.
4. State your authority in a clear manner
You can be the ex-boss or supervisor of the employee or you can just be an ex-mate. So state your authority or capacity in which you know the candidate better. A supervisor may know more about how the employee has handled the work. An ex-mate may know more of the employee’s social interaction skill and so on. So the entire realm changes.
5. Keep simple , crisp language
Make sure that you convey the best in simple language and crisp words. After all, you are convincing someone to select your preference, not submitting your literary thesis.
6. Avoid Colloquialisms
Try to be as much official as possible. Use of colloquialisms reflect improperly on the candidate, you are writing for.
7. Proofread and edit
Before you submit the letter, give it a read to detect spelling or grammatical errors. In addition to spelling and grammar, also make sure that the facts you have stated are correct. You can submit the draft to the person on whose behalf you are writing. He or she can check whether the personal details are accurate or not.
8. Adopt an appropriate tone
Character reference letters should be written in a formal tone. The reader of the character letter can be an employer, a judge, a professor, or a person of high esteem. So, address them according to the offices they hold. In case of a judge and a magistrate, address the letter with “Your Honor”. For a professor, it should be “Doctor” and likewise.
9. Serve the purpose of the letter
Reference letters can be required for a job application, a court case, citizenship or an admission process. In case of a character reference letter for court, put down the exact details of the crime committed to showing the person that you understand the gravity of the situation.
To help you understand better, we have implemented all the above tips in a character letter example below.
SAMPLE FOR CHARACTER REFERENCE LETTER TEMPLATE
Here is an example of a character reference letter that will show you how to highlight a candidate’s best qualities while keeping the message brief yet impactful:
To Whom It May Concern,
I have known Rachel Calvert for more than five years. We had met while I was serving office in XYZ Ltd. Co. as the digital marketing strategist. She had joined as the content marketing assistant and together as a team we had made remarkable improvements in increasing web traffic of the company.
Rachel is one of the most hardworking, sincere and innovative persons I have had the pleasure of working alongside. Within the workplace and beyond work, she is a compassionate, kind person who never misses the opportunity to help others. There have been many instances where Rachel has stepped in to finalize a strategy in the absence of the team leader. Her leadership skills had been recognized by the company, which eventually fetched her the well-deserved title of “Ms All Rounder”.
Rachel is the kind of person who you can count on to keep a cool head even in a stressful situation.
For these reasons, I recommend Rachel for the position of Content Manager, and I believe that she will be a valuable asset to the organization who welcomes her aboard on their team.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Writing a character reference letter for someone can be instrumental in determining whether the candidate eventually land up with the job or scholarship. As a reference, you hold power to highlight the positive qualities of your contact to make a positive impression on the reader.
And if you feel that you still cannot draft a fitting character letter, you can always take help from an expert to avoid the risk of rejection for your contact.
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